Who We Are
The Farmland Access Hub works to increase farmland access for beginning farmers in the Upper Midwest. Designed and co-created by a broad group of stakeholders, the Hub was launched in 2017 through a Beginning Farmer Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) grant secured by Renewing the Countryside. The Hub has since been supported with additional funding from USDA as well as foundations and businesses. Initially composed of 16 entities, there are now 26 Partners in the Hub. As connections within our network deepen, our impact increases. Partners of the Hub commit to directing beginning farmers to the resources of the Hub, being actively engaged, and offering their expertise and resources in assisting beginning farmers.
The Farmland Access Hub encompasses a large network of agricultural organizations, policymakers, advocates, and service providers who are working together to solve the issue of land access. Hub partners are exploring alternative land-access models, working to influence policy changes, and developing farmland access programs, including the Farmland Access Navigator Program, which pairs land-seeking farmers with an advocate who can provide mentorship and resources, and “navigate” them through their land access journey. The Hub is also committed to providing landowners with transition planning and help.
Navigators are assigned to land-seeking clients to help assess readiness, offer support, and provide resources to help emerging farmers reach their land ownership or rental goals. Many Navigators have their own land access story, so not only do they understand the struggle, they are aware of the many resources available to young and beginning farmers.
The Farmland Access Hub encompasses a large network of partners. See who they are!
Hub Staff and Navigators
Jan is the Executive Director and co-founder of Renewing the Countryside. For the past twenty years, she has been an advocate and organizer for rural communities and citizens working to stimulate economic growth and enhance their communities through sustainable uses of their landscapes and resources. Jan holds a master's degree in natural resources from the University of Minnesota. She lives in Zumbro Falls, Minnesota with her husband Brett, daughter Olivia, and son Axel.
Brett is a co-founder of Renewing the Countryside and works as a Farmland Access Navigator, food business advisor, and on community and local foods system development. With a background as an art director and designer, Brett serves as RTC's Creative Director. As one of the founders, Brett has been involved in much of the development, planning and organizing of Renewing the Countryside since its beginning. Brett and his family live on a historic dairy farm and stone stagecoach stop in Zumbro Falls, Minnesota.
Bonnie Warndahl is a Farmland Access Specialist at Renewing the Countryside and has been a Farmland Access Navigator for Wisconsin since 2021, working both to help emerging farmers secure land tenure and exiting farmers/landowners to transition their land to the next generation of farmers. Bonnie started farming in 2015 and owns and operates Winnowburrow Farm & Florals— a cut flower farm and agritourism business in the beautiful rolling hills of the Red Cedar River Valley in Colfax, Wisconsin, near Menomonie/Eau Claire.
Hannah has been working on farms for a decade in Minnesota and Iowa. In 2017 she started a worker-owned cooperative farm, Humble Hands Harvest, in Decorah, Iowa. Hannah has worked as a farmer advocate with the Land Stewardship Project and Practical Farmers of Iowa. She completed the Farmland Access Navigator training in the winter of 2019-2020 and since then has been working with beginning farmers on land access, with a lot of interest in group and community ownership models. Hannah was recognized in 2021 as a Changemaker by MOSES.
Amber and her family started Fork Tail Farm seven years ago in Avoca, IA where they produce pasture-raised meat and poultry. A beginning farmer herself, Amber has relied on the wisdom of experienced farmers to help her navigate decisions. She completed the Farmland Access Navigator training in the winter of 2019-2020 and has been working on farmland access since then. Amber also advocates for farmers as Executive Director of Avoca Main Street Inc., a local community economic development organization.
Monika Owczarski has been farming in Des Moines since 2016, when she founded Sweet Tooth Farm. It is her mission and passion to provide fresh, nutrient-dense foods that are not a luxury item. She believes that farmers should make a living wage - and that all people deserve nutritious food. Monika started the first Community Fridge in Iowa in collaboration with the farm to help realize that belief.
Monika farms in a network of urban plots alongside RadiateDSM, her collective farming partner. She has gained and lost many farming plots over the years, and is passionate about helping farmers find land to work that is viable, equitable, and sustainable.
Joe Klingelhutz became a Farmland Access Navigator in the Fall of 2022. He lives in Iowa City, IA where he works and is involved in farming vegetables, honey bees, perennials, and chickens. He runs his own independent beekeeping operation and has worked for several other farms including Rainbow Roots Farm, Buffalo Ridge Orchard, Ebert Honey, Wild Woods Farm, and Grimm Family Farms. Joe has 4 years of experience working with Iowa landowners and land seekers through his role as the Farm Specialist for the Sustainable Iowa Land Trust. As a beginning farmer and with his experience in increasing farmland access in Iowa he is excited to work as a Navigator helping other farmers find land to meet their goals.
Aaron helps direct Latino Economic Development Center's (LEDC) Agricultural Program working to secure grants, managing the program budget, and coordinating LEDC’s Agricultural training activities including; business technical assistance to farmers, loan application assistance, marketing assistance, and in-field technical assistance. Aaron is a graduate of the University of Santa Cruz’s Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems’ Apprenticeship program in Ecological Horticulture. He spent over 8 years working and managing Organic vegetable farms in Oregon and Minnesota and 6 years as the farm manager of Big River Farms, an Organic vegetable training farm that works with emerging and immigrant farmers. Most recently, he spent 5 years as the Director of Shared Ground Farmers’ Cooperative, a majority-owned Latino marketing cooperative in St. Paul, MN.
Katie has been working as a farmer educator in the Twin Cities since 2010, providing services to farmers in the areas of business planning and farm management, land access, transitioning to organic farming, accessing USDA programs and selling to wholesale markets. Katie started her career as the training program coordinator/manager at Big River Farms, a program of The Food Group, and continues to support farmers through Big River Farms as well as Renewing the Countryside when she started as a Land Access Navigator in 2020 and an FSA/NRCS Connector in 2021. With her family, Katie operates Prairie Smoke Gardens in St. Paul.
Moses Momanyi co-owns the 20-acre organic certified Dawn2Dusk Farm in Cambridge Minnesota. Currently he sells vegetables at Mill City and Kingfield farmers markets in Minneapolis. President of Kilimo Minnesota, a nonprofit farmer incubator ; African Growers and Producers Alliance.
Xiong is a Farm Programs Specialist with The Good Acre, a 501C3 nonprofit organization that connects and strengthens farmers, food makers, and communities through good food. He originally studied law enforcement before going on to join the army, but then decided to move on from army life and policing.
Growing up in Wisconsin and Minnesota his parents always had a small garden to farm on, either rented or borrowed. They grew mostly herbs, corns, and Asian greens, like Chinese mustard, only producing enough for their own use -- both parents were too busy, and never produced enough for farmers markets.
Xiong hopes to eventually transition into farming fulltime. He says" I know it'll be more work and hours but it'll be more satisfying working for myself."
Originally from Minnesota, Nicholas has spent time in Iowa studying soil, water, and sustainable agriculture, has worked in middle-income housing in New York, and has researched perennial crops at the University of Wisconsin. He spent several years working with community-focused food and gardening projects before joining Rooted as the Gardens Network Manager. When not working on his own community garden plot, Nicholas enjoys cooking, biking, and the Madison lakes.
Nou grew up on the eastside of Madison. She has volunteered with Troy Community Garden for many years before joining Rooted. Food is woven into the fabric of who she is. You can find her eating and surrounded by food all day long. She has worked to help address food insecurity in the community. She is an educator, an advocate, and community organizer. Nou is passionate in connecting communities through food and storytelling.